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Energy Efficiency can deliver badly needed jobs in Europe


09 Feb 2012


Social Europe & Jobs

The proposed Energy Efficiency Directive continues to stir heated debates in Brussels. The European Parliament’s ITRE Committee is working on compromise amendments ahead of the committee vote on 28th February and Member States try to add opt-outs to all binding targets or measures. PU Europe recognises the complexity of the directive, but sees the risk that the fight over technical details dilutes the overall message: Meeting the 2020 energy savings target can create or secure up to 2 million jobs in the EU while generating additional government income.

Speaking at the MEP Danube Forum for Sustainable Energy on 7th February, Oliver Loebel, Secretary General of PU Europe stated, “In particular the deep renovation of Europe’s building stock provides an extraordinary job creation potential. Employment will be created at a local level, mainly in SMEs involved in the renovation and maintenance of buildings and, very importantly, these jobs cannot be relocated outside the region.”

PU Europe therefore calls on the European Parliament to support the 3 % renovation rate for public buildings and the development of national building renovation roadmaps to ensure that the energy demand of Europe’s buildings is reduced by 80 % by 2050. Government incentive schemes will be necessary to get investments kick-started. However, each Euro spent by public authorities can trigger 10-15 Euros of private investments. Through increased revenues from value added tax, income tax, profit tax and avoided payments for unemployment benefits, governments can recuperate their own initial investment up to five times and, moreover, the money benefits the local economy. This is in sharp contrast to the €332 billion the EU economy transferred to third countries to cover its energy needs in 2007.

“Apart from its environmental benefits, the Energy Efficiency Directive clearly offers a triple-win situation for the economy: creating jobs, increasing government income and decreasing import dependency. It is not understandable that economic ministers continue to look for opt-outs while they should make their countries benefit from an ambitious directive.” Loebel concluded.

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